Posted on

My First 90 Days at Akili: Josh Huilar

 

By Josh Huilar | Anaplan Consultant

When I first think of Akili, two words come to mind: Culture and fun. In fact, at Akili, they are one and the same. Many companies tout the mantra of “Work Hard, Play Hard”, but is it really work if you truly enjoy your job and the people you work with?

That’s been my experience at Akili so far.

Coming to Akili was a big decision for me. I am originally from Wisconsin and my career up to this point had been working for much larger organizations based in my home state. I’ve always envisioned working for a smaller firm much later in my career, but I am glad I made the move. Despite its size, Akili offers many of the same benefits and amenities that much larger organizations provide. For those of you considering relocating to the Dallas area it has much to offer, from professional sporting events, live concerts, excellent restaurants, great weather, eclectic neighborhoods, and reasonably affordable housing and cost of living when compared to other major U.S. metropolitan cities.

Here are some highlights from my first 90 days:

Wine & Whiskey Wednesdays: On Wednesdays, everyone in the office takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the work week by pouring a glass or two of their favorite libation after 4:30 P.M.

Chicken Wing Eating Contest: Need I say more?

Office Hoverboards: In previous offices, this would have been an immediate safety violation and not allowed. At first, the hoverboards made me squeamish, but now I find myself cracking a smile anytime I see heads floating above the cubicle walls.

Flexible Work Arrangements: I was able to work remotely in Vegas and Atlanta when I had vacations planned before I came here.

No Office Politics: Our leadership team genuinely wants you to succeed. At Akili it’s pretty simple. Do what is best for your clients and coworkers, and you will succeed.

Overall, I have no regrets joining the Akili family. I follow many of my coworkers on social media and spend time with them on the weekends. Now that I am settled in, my primary focus continues to be managing my current client’s ongoing conversion to Anaplan. Recently, my client identified additional Anaplan projects they would like to undertake, and requested an extension of my work assignment. The best compliment you can receive from a client is an extended work assignment. It demonstrates the client’s trust and confidence in you as a consultant, the firm you represent, and in Akili’s case, Anaplan as their tool of choice to meet their integrated business planning needs.

Posted on

Are you ready for one of the biggest accounting changes ever?

 

Join Akili May 22 at 11AM CST for a lease accounting webinar.

After discussions for the better part of a decade, the new FASB lease accounting standard (ASC-842) is official. The new lease accounting standard represents one of the largest and most impactful reporting changes to accounting principles in decades, since most companies utilize off-balance sheet financing with operational leases. The standard itself is voluminous (over 400 pages) and digesting it will be a major task for companies, auditors, and accountants. Implementing practical solutions is where the rubber really meets the road.

Is your company ready to meet this challenge?

Situation

The new standard includes leases of all property, plant, and equipment and excludes (1) leases of intangible assets, (2) leases to explore for or use non-regenerative resources, (3) leases of biological assets, (4) leases of inventory, and (5) leases of assets under construction. Overall, the measurement of an operating lease is the most significant difference from previous standards; the lessee will be required to place all operating leases with a duration of 12 months or more on the balance sheet.
For several years prior, the accounting standard-setting body in the United States, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the international accounting standard-setting body, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), have been working on various convergence projects to achieve a more uniform, worldwide standard for lease accounting.

The new standard becomes effective for public business entities, certain not-for-profits, and certain employee benefit plans for annual periods (including interim periods) beginning after Dec. 15, 2018; and for all other entities, annual periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2019.

Most companies have not implemented a solution to help them become compliant with these requirements; and adding real estate and equipment leases to the balance sheet will be a sizable task.

Business Issue

To start down the road to compliance, businesses need to focus on several key activities:

Data Assessment

The initial step is to understand the size and scope of the lease profile of the company. It is important to understand the classification of the lease type (building, equipment, etc.), but also understand the key characteristics that will drive the lease calculations. These characteristics can be summarized in a table to ensure you have addressed all of the functional requirements and can directly correlate an accounting procedure to meet the requirement.

While there needs to be an initial push to gather this data, most likely, you will update this information throughout the process. The key is to gather data on the most impactful set of leases as quickly as possible.

Accounting Assessment

Next, your company can start the process of applying the new accounting standard to different lease profiles identified in the data assessment. The interpretation and application of the lease accounting standard will require a written auditable procedure in 2019, but during the initial assessment, establishing a framework that can be built upon over the implementation process will be sufficient. Additionally, the initial interpretation does not have to cover every existing lease, but rather just a solid assessment of the key leases will be sufficient to start the implementation of a solution. The outcome of completing the assessment process over a set of key leases will be a deeper understanding and will allow the team to identify individual scenarios that need specific consideration in the process. Overall, establishing the accounting procedures for the company’s leases will continue throughout the implementation process.

Solution Assessment

While you are completing the Data and Accounting Assessments, you will need to identify and engage with vendors on the different solutions available. Many times, high-level requirements, such as cost, functionality, or flexibility, will quickly eliminate some vendors. The key is to get to a short list of vendors that can provide you with a demonstration and proposal immediately following the assessment. Some vendors, like Akili, can support the assessment and be instrumental in defining the solution scope and change requirements. In addition to meeting the basic requirement of your company, the solution should be flexible as changes to the standard emerge over time. Furthermore, it will be important to understand and establish who will be making and implementing those changes. Is it the vendor, your IT department, or is the solution managed by the business team? All of these are key criteria in choosing a solution and implementation partner.

Lease Accounting by Akili

Akili has developed a lease accounting model based on the Anaplan Platform. Anaplan’s powerful modeling and calculation engine helps managers quickly evaluate lease accounting results. Anaplan’s platform boasts the world’s most powerful and flexible modeling and calculation engine, called Hyperblock™. This in-memory engine enables the creation of detailed models that utilize all your data, down to the transactional level, for real-time impactful business execution. Anaplan allows models to be built to any level of granularity with as many dimensions as your business requires. This allows a company to visualize the lease accounting data by legal entity, by lessor, or other management hierarchy.

Anaplan was built from day one as a cloud platform combining cutting-edge security, in-memory data management, and massive scalability. Business users can use familiar business syntax, drag-and-drop hierarchies, and built-in logic for time, versions, and scenarios. With Anaplan, there are no technical barriers between you and business insights, and requires no reliance on IT for business rules adjustments, model creation, or changes. The Anaplan platform gives you the power and flexibility to plan for any area of your business, enabling collaborative decision-making to drive improved business performance across the organization.

Akili’s Lease Accounting solution on the Anaplan platform focuses on the core requirements required to be compliant with the lease accounting standard.  The requirements of the solution are detailed below:

Lease Compliance

  • Consolidate lease information
  • Calculate lease payment schedule
  • Lease contract classification
  • Lease Accounting
    • Lease data management
    • Calculate lease accounting entries
    • Monthly lease reconciliation
  • Lease Analytics & Reporting
    • Business disclosure reporting
    • Business management reporting
    • Lease administration analytics
  • Lease Planning
    • Lease planning simulations
    • Lease budgeting solution
    • Connected planning with FP&A

 

Akili’s Lease Accounting cloud-based solution running on the Anaplan platform will provide a robust set of functionalities, the flexibility to update the model by business subject matter experts, and be at a reasonable cost. To learn more about Akili and the Lease Accounting Solution, please go to Akili.com or email us at info@akili.com.

 

References

Robert Singer, A. P. (2017, August 23). Accounting for Leases Under the New Standard, Part 1 – The CPA Journal. Retrieved from CPA Journal: Accounting for Leases Under the New Standard, Part 1 – The CPA Journal

Stephen McKinney, T. K. (2016). An Executive Summary of the FASB’s New Lease Accounting Standard. Deloitte Development LLC.

Posted on

My First 90 Days at Akili: Dan Vollmer

 

By Dan Vollmer | Sr. Sales Executive

I first heard of Akili through a few employees that I’ve been happy to call friends for almost 20 years. Even before I really knew about Akili, the passion and joy the employees shared with me about their work, colleagues, and clients were apparent. So when I was approached with the opportunity to support Akili clients and expand the Akili brand to the east coast, I knew I had to learn more about this company that has multiple awards as “one of the best companies to work for in Texas.”

When I interviewed with our CEO, the executive team, and employees, the reoccurring theme was a cohesive culture. It emphasized the importance of a good work/life balance, and how it positively affects an individual’s and company’s performance. As a remote employee in Atlanta, I do not get to enjoy the office spoils every week like happy hours, ping-pong tournaments, hoverboard races, etc. And that’s OK. I am still able to have a sense of inclusiveness through active message boards, company meetings, and even being flown out for a number of company events each year.

An organization’s culture is crucial in today’s connected economy, but unfortunately, many organizations lose sight of their core values for the better of a few, not the many.

But not Akili.

In my opinion, culture is what makes Akili a unique place to work and a great company to do business with. I continue to see a presence of the 12 core values of which Akili was founded on. Not every company or employee is perfect all the time, but I continue to see every employee hold each other accountable, work with integrity, and deliver great results to our clients, while having fun along the way.

I am overly impressed by the client reference and retention rate, which confirms to me the quality of work our team consistently provides.

Looking forward, I am most excited about my impact on Akili’s growth on the east coast. My mission is to ensure current east coast client successes as well as support new clients in obtaining their business planning goals. In 5 to 10 years, I want to look back at this post about my first 90 days at Akili and not only see that I have accomplished these goals, but also that each new employee feels the same pride and passion as we do today!